By Michael D’Onofrio
PHILADELPHIA — Two more Philadelphia residents died from COVID-19 as city officials counted confirmed coronavirus cases in every ZIP code in the city.
City officials reported the first case of an inmate testing positive for the novel coronavirus. Additional inmates were in quarantine. Officials declined to provide further information.
City officials also announced that they have struck a deal with Temple University to rent out a stadium and other facilities to handle potential strains on the city’s healthcare system.
The new coronavirus victims were both women in their 70s with underlying medical conditions, Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said.
One of the women was a resident of a nursing home where Philadelphia officials previously reported an outbreak. Farley declined to provide additional information about the deaths.
Three Philadelphia residents have died from COVID-19, which is caused by the novel coronavirus, since the pandemic began.
Newly confirmed cases of coronavirus were 154 on Friday, bringing the city’s total total to 637. Fifty were known to be hospitalized and 54 were healthcare workers.
An employee in the city’s Department of Prisons tested positive for the virus. City officials declined to reveal how many city employees have tested positive for coronavirus.
Daily visits to coronavirus testing sites continue to increase, but testing remains limited, Farley said.
The city has 700 ventilators, Farley said. If the virus continues to spread unchecked, he said, the need for ventilators will “greatly exceed” what is available.
Devices not traditionally used as ventilators could be employed if there is a shortage of ventilators, Farley said.
The city’s healthcare providers were not reporting any strains, Farley said.
“Our healthcare system is open and available for anyone who needs it,” Farley said.
City officials preparing medical facilities
The city will use Temple University’s Liacouras Center on the school’s North Philadelphia campus as space to treat coronavirus patients if there are too many for the local hospitals.
The Liacouras Center, a stadium with more than 10,000 seats that is home to the university’s basketball teams, was expected to be operational in the coming days.
Michael D’Onofrio is a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared.
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